Last weekend, Glenn was scheduled to fly out to Denver for work so obviously, as the travel-junkie that I am, I figured out a way to tag along. I had never been before and we didn’t have a ton of time but we maximized every minute!
St. Mary’s Glacier
St. Mary’s Glacier is a “semi-permanent snowfield” located in Arapaho National Forest. We did the hour and a half drive straight from the airport…well, we may have stopped at Rosenberg’s Bagels but then we went straight there. We paid the $5 parking fee and began the upward hike.
It’s a 1 mile hike to reach the glacier and we could definitely feel the effects of the 10,000 foot altitude having not given ourselves any time to acclimate. I would have liked to have my hiking boots because the trail was mostly loose rocks but, if you take your time and use caution, tennis shoes were just fine.
It rained on and off all day but the views were still great and we enjoyed watching the skiers risk their lives on the glacier. We visited at the beginning of August so the “snowfield” was pretty small and melted.
Not far from the glacier is the start of the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway. Mt. Evans is home to the highest paved road in North America. We visited on a Sunday, so there was a lot of traffic which made the sketchy roads even sketchier.
Up, up, up we drove. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the summit but we took frequent stops along the way at different outlooks.
The altitude at St. Mary’s Glacier was nothing compared to Mt. Evans. It peaks at about 14,000 feet. The only other time I’ve been at this altitude as on the Inca Trail in Peru.
We saw mountain goats and deer along the drive. More importantly, we saw BABY mountain goats and BABY deer.
Like I said before, it was pretty rainy that day and as we reached the summit it began to hail. We didn’t spend much time at the top but we still felt extremely accomplished for having made it all the way up.
That night, we checked out Larimer Square which is a Downtown Denver hotspot for dining and shopping. It was a very cute area and we enjoyed some pizza, burrata and lamb meatballs at Osteria Marco.
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater
The next morning, Glenn was off doing work stuff so I had the day to explore on my own. I drove out to Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater and did a short 1.5 mile hike on the Trading Post Trail. It was extremely well maintained and for a Monday morning at 9:00am it wasn’t crowded at all, although it was pretty hot outside already.
I started the hike at the Trading Post building and ended at the Amphitheater. The amphitheater was pretty cool to see but the hike was definitely the highlight for me.
Denver Biscuit Co.
Now that I was all hot and sweaty, it was time for breakfast. The internet told me that Denver Biscuit Company was the place to go. I ordered a sandwich with sausage and egg on a French toast biscuit. The man next to me gave me a look and pointed to his plate as he said, “THIS is what you just ordered. I could only finish half!” Well, sir, you don’t know me. I ate every bite. Judge me all you want.
I was already on S Broadway avenue which is known for it’s antique stores and music venues so I walked around for a bit and took advantage of the air conditioning in each store.
Washington Park was on a few of the “top things to do in Denver” lists I looked at and it wasn’t far from where I ate breakfast. I walked the 2 mile loop and soaked in the extra-powerful UV rays as I enjoyed the beautiful day.
By this time, my solo activities for the day were over and I was off to pick up Glenn and head for the airport.
I think we did a pretty good job of condensing a few top attractions in Denver into one day. Do you have any other recommendations for Denver must-sees? Please share in the comments below for anyone else looking for tips!